Counting on the Cloud in 2022
As we close out the year and approach 2022, the new year offers an opportunity to address burgeoning activity on the horizon. The last 18 months have brought significant change, and with it, increased reliance on cloud technologies for enabling remote work and social interaction.
Our relationship with the cloud will continue to strengthen and evolve in the coming year as companies leverage the cloud in new ways to grow their business. Below are four industry trends I expect will occur in 2022.
A vendor for all apps
Enterprises will be more inclined to choose uniform solutions and services particular to specific vendors. If Microsoft handles my company’s mail and collaboration tools, for example, my company is more likely to use their Dynamics CRM. If my organization or department is all in with Salesforce, my company is more likely to use Slack for workplace chat and communications.
The idea of a single vendor offering multiple applications is gaining traction, especially at large enterprises. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and other major SaaS players provide multiple capabilities under their single umbrellas – or they’re looking to acquire single-app vendors that can help bolster their tech stack. There’s power in the versatility of the applications that a vendor offers.
Governments further embrace the cloud
Government organizations are vast users of data and computing, but they’re late cloud adopters, owing to concerns about cybersecurity and risk management. However, in recent years, governments’ opportunities to leverage the cloud have increased. Cloud Smart, the U.S. government’s cloud-computing strategy, was enacted in 2019 as a new way to drive federal agency adoption of cloud services. Cloud Smart followed FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program), a cyber security risk management program for U.S. federal agencies to purchase and use cloud products and services, started in 2011 to foster government presence in the cloud.
Today, Amazon Web Services, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, and other cloud service providers are focused on the unique needs of government agencies. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft made use of Microsoft Teams free to all National Health Service (NHS) staff in the U.K.
Public cloud providers can provide government organizations with specialized cloud environments to meet their specific demands. As cloud reliance deepens and federal spending on cloud computing rises to $7.8 billion in 2022, government-oriented clouds built and managed by providers like Amazon and Microsoft will become more common.
New ESG, sustainability focuses
Many companies are adopting a new approach to their business planning and increasingly incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters into their corporate strategy. Investors and stakeholders ask hard questions tied to a business’s public reputation. They’re monitoring how companies respond to social causes, employee morale at their company, and how a company practices its values.
In 2022, we’ll see more companies pledge loyalty to sustainability goals. There are sustainability funds where retail investors can invest in companies high on sustainability principles, hoping for a more ethical and higher long-term financial return – doing well by doing good. Business capital will follow those companies that prioritize ESG and sustainability in their corporate planning – those that overlook ESG risk seeing their business fall behind.
The hybrid workplace grows
The new year will see workers slowly return to the office, as more COVID vaccines have made working from the office real again. But the hybrid work environment will remain, as both employers and employees have grown more accustomed to operating remotely. As a result, expect increasing adoption of the hybrid workplace. A May 2021 survey from McKinsey & Company found that 9 out of 10 organizations intend to use a hybrid work environment moving forward.
And while it may not fully arrive in 2022, live conferences and events are set to mount a comeback, one inspired to some degree by exhaustion with videoconferencing. It’s already been happening in business centers like Singapore and Las Vegas. The frequency and scale of in-person conferences, trade shows, and symposia may be low initially, but gradually, we can expect more events with larger audiences. Some organizers will adopt measures like contact-tracing wearables to stop the spread of potential illness. Little by little, our new normal will continue to take shape, and our technology will help us evolve with it.
By Manoj Kalyanaraman